CONSISTENCY IS SUPER IMPORTANT
Crate Training is a process that takes some time and patience, but it is the BEST thing you can do for your puppy.
In the beginning they will not see this as being the Best thing:)
It will provide a safe haven for your puppy when you cannot watch him.
Will reduce stress should you ever have to board or leave a puppy at the vet
Helps in the Potty Training / House Training Process
First and foremost it is important that the crate is used as a positive and not as a place for punishment.
Just as important, please do not leave your puppy in a crate for hours on end; that becomes a prison.
I start using the crate early on. If I have a sleepy puppy, what a better place to nap than in a crate.
It is feeding time, what a better place for your puppy to have a meal. Its good to give your puppy a treat or a safe chew toy
such as a stuffed Kong to occupy his time while in there. Always want to keep crating positive. I do not give my
puppies the nice dog beds until they are crate trained. I use old towel that I can bleach and wash. Beds are hard to keep clean if soiled
and so often a puppy will chew on them and get some stuffing out which could be fatal if swallowed.
I leave my crate doors open around the house, and often find my dogs & even some pups napping in them.
Since dogs are "den" animals, I prefer the plastic crates over the wire crates as a rule; however, when I am crating especially during
overnight hours or extended periods during the day in the beginning, I use a wire crate. For the young babies, I will use a wire crate
about 30" long and will set a litter box in the back of it. They sleep in the front and should they need to potty they have a potty
pan in the back. You can easily drape something over the crate to make it like a den, just make sure the puppy cannot pull the
cover into the crate and chew on it.
When starting your puppy out, crate for short periods of time and if you can do it when they are sleepy, it works best.
As soon as they wake up, pick them up and carry then outside to potty. (do not let them walk outside on their own, the will not make it and
will potty on the floor). It is good to set them in the same spot outside and tell them to "potty". Try to have a couple treats in your pocket and as
soon as they go give them a treat and praise (this has to be done quickly or they will have no idea why they just got treated). Do not talk or
play with your puppy until it goes to the bathroom. Once it has, play with the puppy for awhile and give it some supervised
playtime. After playing, it will probably need to go outside AGAIN ! Should your puppy potty on the floor do NOT rub its nose in it or yell
or be harsh. That will only make your puppy fearful of you and they will really not even know why you are mad. Simply just clean up
the floor with soap and water. Using bleach will mimic the smell of urine to a puppy and will indicate a good spot for your puppy
to go there again.
DURING THE NIGHT
So, the first few nights dont plan on getting much sleep. Some do better than others but they have just gone through losing
everything they know. (mom, littermates, and the human care taker they have had since birth), and are now in a place that
is totally new for them. I have found the puppies do best if put in a crate next to your bed. A stuffed animal sometime helps
give them something to snuggle up to. Some / most will fuss when you first put them in the crate but will settle within the hour
(seems like an eternity). During this time do not talk to your puppy, your voice will only excite them more. It is best to just
tap on the crate and follow it with a "shush sound" and then dangle your fingers at the crate so the puppy can smell them and know
it is not alone. Some prefer their crate to be covered with something lite weight. Plan on getting up 1-2 times during
the night to take your puppy out. My puppies have used a litterbox which comes in very handy in the middle of the night should
it be raining outside, or you live on the 2nd floor of an apartment.
If you cannot put the puppy by your bed, place it in another room and play a radio softly and sometime a fan blowing on the puppy
will do wonders. Also during short periods when you are gone from home this also will work.
If you must be gone for extended periods of time, do not expect the puppy to hold it ! They have no control yet.
You might look in to purchasing an X-Pen (Exercise pen) and set it up with a litter box or a potty pad.
I really like the Courtyard Kennels, they are pricey but are solid. If you have a climber the pens dont work:(
While crate training your puppy, make sure it pottys before going in the crate. Remember, what goes in must come out.
As long as the puppy is crying do NOT take it out of the crate. Ignore the puppy
Removing it when it is not quiet is only reinforcing bad behavior and teaching it to cry to get what it wants.
Wait til the puppy is quiet even if it has only been quiet for 1 minute, hurry and remove the puppy.
The only time you would take out when crying is if you know it is because it needs to go to the bathroom
It is best to have your puppy on a set feeding schedule. Feed your puppy 2-3 hours before being put into the crate for the night. Remove
water about an hour before bedtime and just give very little at bedtime and during potty breaks at night.